Saturday, July 18, 2015

Japanese-style bulgogi

I borrowed this book from the library weeks ago and so far cooked several dishes from it . One of the dishes that I really like is the bulgogi recipe . 

Bulgogi is popular Korean beef barbecue , thinly-sliced beef is marinated then grilled . This Japanese version is stir-fried and flavored with sake, mirin and some other pantry-staple spices . Unlike the usual stir-fry which you cook the meat first then add in the some of the remaining ingredients until everything is cooked through . This easy-peasy recipe is cooked in one go , yup , all ingredients are marinated together then fried in a hot skillet . How's that for fast and satisfying food ?! And there are enough veggies in this dish to satisfy your Mom lol 

I've made half of the recipe and used 175 grams beef and more than half of the veggies and used scant 1/2 teaspoon of chicken powder instead of salt . I was hesitant at first to cooked this dish for about 7 minutes , I usually cook thinly-sliced beef for 4 minutes tops and I thought cooking it longer will make the meat a bit tough to eat but that wasn't the case . If you're looking for a new beef dish that's easy to prepare and delicious , too , you got to try this ! 

Recipe adapted from Japanese Soul Cooking

Serves 4

1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup sake
2 tablespoons mirin
2 teaspoons tobanjan / chili garlic sauce
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons grated garlic
1/4 cup toasted sesame oik
1 pound shaved beef or thinly-sliced beef ( look for shabu-shabu / Chinese hotpot beef ) , cut into bite-size pieces
about 8 ounces large white onion
about 4 ounces carrot , peeled and cut into matchsticks
about 6 ounces green bell pepper , cored and cut into matchsticks
3 ounces fresh shiitaki mushrooms , stemmed and thinly-sliced
2 teaspoon toasted sesame seed

Steamed rice , for serving  
pickled ginger , if desired

* Mix together the soy sauce , sake , mirin ,  pepper , tobanjan , salt , sugar , garlic , and 2 tablespoons sesame oil in a large bowl . Add the beef and use your hands to mix everything so that the meat is evenly coated . Add the onion , carrot , bell pepper and shiitaki and mix thoroughly .

* In a large non-stick pan , over high-heat , add the remaining 2 tablespoons sesame oil . Add the beef and vegetables mixture, including the marinade . Cook for about 7 minutes , stirring constantly or until the liquid in the pan has almost completely evaporated and the ingredients begin caramelizing . Be careful not to burn it .

* Transfer to a serving platter and garnish with sesame seeds . Serve with steaming rice on the side . 

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Mini char siu buns

Reporting from Fa Yuen Street Public Library ! No internet at home so , I'm taking advantage of the free 2-hour internet usage at the library ......  

How's life in your side of the world ? Hope everything is well and good ! 

Anyway , I've been checking out some bilingual cookbooks last week when I stumbled upon this book . It contains most breads that you can find in bakeries here and one particular recipe that I was keen to make is char siu bao . So keen that I made 3 batches of it ! No , there's nothing with the recipe . Blurry photos are the culprit *sigh* Note the different color of the char siu filling ?! Don't worry about it , it tastes awesome , different colors aside lol 

All dough recipes in the book are made using the dough hooks of your electric hand mixer , the contraption that most avid bread bakers won't ever touch hee hee ! Yeah , it was my first time using those hooks though I only used it for mixing the sponge as it was so sticky to knead manually ( this from somebody to manually kneaded all her baked breads lol )

These buns are very easy and straightforward to make but a bit time consuming . The char siu filling takes less than 5 minutes to make and can be made a day or 2 before using . If you want to try this recipe , I recommend that you double or even triple it . I've consumed the 1st and 3rd batch all by my lonesome , you know shhhhhh ! 

Recipe adapted from Jolly Kitchen Series : Homemade Professional Bakery-Style Bread by Charles Ho

For the char siu filling :

Char siu ( Chinese barbecued pork ) , diced
8 grams unsalted butter
1/2 shallot , diced ( I used 20 grams )
10 grams oyster sauce
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon dark soy sauce
15 grams caster sugar
1/4 teaspoon chicken powder
1/8 teaspoon pepper
50 grams water

Cornstarch mixture :

10 grams cornstarch
20 grams water ,
5 grams rice wine

* In a hot pan , place butter and shallot and cook for 1 minute . Add water , oyster sauce , sesame oil , dark soy sauce , sugar , chicken powder and pepper ( you can combine these ingredients beforehand ) . Stir well and bring to a boil .

* Add in the cornstarch mixture and stir well . Add in diced char siu and mix thoroughly , transfer filling in a heatproof bowl . Let cool and keep in the fridge until needed .

* You need 160 grams ( 20 grams in each dough ) char siu filling in this recipe .

beaten egg for egg wash
some honey , for glazing

For the buns :

Sponge starter :

20 grams egg
40 grams fresh milk
2 grams fresh yeast ( I used 1 gram instant yeast )
5 grams milk powder
70 grams bread flour

* Place ingredients into the bowl and use a the dough hooks of an electric hand mixer , ( or use a wooden spatula )  mix over low speed until it forms a rough dough . Form into a ball and place into a lightly-oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap . Let starter ferment to 2.5 times / about tripled in size , takes about 60-80 minutes , depending on the warmth of your kitchen / place .

Dough :

2 grams fresh yeast ( I used 1 gram instant yeast )
25 grams caster sugar
1 grams salt
15 grams water
50 grams bread flour
15 grams unsalted butter , at room temperature

* Combine dough ingredients together with the starter dough and mix either by electric hand mixer ( low speed ) or manually . Knead until dough is smooth and elastic or do a window pane test . Let dough rest , ideal temperature is 28°C , until doubled in size .

* Divide dough into 8 pieces at 30 grams ( for my doubled recipe , I divided the dough into 35 grams each and used 25 grams char siu filling )  , depending on your final dough , form into small balls and let rest , covered , for 15 minutes .

*  Flatten dough , about 3 inches in diameter ,  the middle part should be thicker than the sides . Place 20 grams char siu filling on top and wrap the dough , firmly pinch the edges to close the bottom and the top should be smooth and tight . Place filled dough , seam side down on the baking tray and continue with the rest .

* Spray water onto the top of the filled dough pieces . Let proof at 36°C until almost tripled in size , about 30-40 minutes . When surface is dry , brush top and sides with egg wash .

* Preheat oven at 150°C . Adjust to 180°C and place buns into the middle rack , bake until top of the buns starts to turn lightly brown then lower the temperature to 150°C and use top heat only . Bake until done , overall baking time is 15 minutes . I preheated the oven at 180°C and baked the buns at the same temperature for 15 minutes .

* Remove buns from the oven and brush tops with honey . Serve warm or at room temperature .